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Underground Arizona Part 5, AZ
mini location map2011-03-12
42 by photographer avatarRedRoxx44
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Underground Arizona Part 5, AZ 
Underground Arizona Part 5, AZ
 
Caving avatar Mar 12 2011
RedRoxx44
Caving
Caving
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
What to do with no flowers?? Go underground---a Cave Brian had pushed with a team years ago. The front part of the cave well known but a difficult traverse and pushing through a small portal gained them a very pretty extension of the cave. I hated the traverse, along a sloping high wall with either rocks to 6 feet of ice cold water 40 feet down. I was on rope and Brian did the lead climb and set protection. I would rather rappel or ascend than slide along a rope on a biner leash. Ugh. The cave was quite beautiful and unusual. Lots of fractured huge blocks of Onyx and breakdown. The walls glistened but were not wet. Neat colors and formations.
Quite large and impressive.
Once out of there on to the Canelo Hills, famous for sharp limestone and ill tempered rattlesnakes. While Brian was exploring a crack I was sitting slightly inside the entrance pit. I got up and stepped back and felt a weight on my leg. I looked down and a good sized rattlesnake had struck and hooked into my gaiter. It was twisting to get loose, I was yelling, the dog was barking. I hit it in the head with a rock and stripped the gaiter. The snake got loose and took off. It did not penetrate my pants ( thick levis). Then the dog is at the edge of the pit and more rattling!! A large blacktail was tucked in a ledge at the top of the entrance. I called the dog back, I was afraid he would get bit. I found a snake stick and got the big boy back farther in his crevice. The snake that got after me had disappeared down a hole. I saw yet another friggin snake in a crack but he just disappeared and I never saw him fully. Holy Canoly! So I sat on a rock that was jammed in the crack that had no connection to the alive walls around me. The big one above me rattled for a full 20 minutes while I scanned all the cracks and crevices. I had two holes punched in the gaiter, I threw it out of the pit. Looking at it later I didn't see any venom. Brian came up later after a segmental about 200 foot plus chimney to report a blowing crack but not a good thing to pursue without several people.
We walked a bunch more limestone and found some other leads but I wasn't fond of sticking my head in any holes in the rattlesnake range.
I got some pictures, of the big guy on the ledge, but looking down at that snake twisting around my lower leg is going to stay with me for a while. And he didn't rattle either. :sweat:
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